How Promoting an Online Business Works

Promoting Products and Cross-Selling

So you've followed the recommendations for driving traffic to your site and have a lot of visitors, but many of them either just browse and move on or buy one product and that's it. How do you get them to buy more -- or, in the case of the browsers, just buy something?

Suppose you are selling homeopathic and herbal remedies on your Web site. These are things that people don't tend to know that much about. For this reason, putting informative articles, frequently asked questions, a glossary, and the ability for visitors to post a question would probably make your site a very "sticky" site. This means that not only would people come to your site for information, they would stay there for a while and probably return fairly often. Sticky sites are good sites. Typically, the longer you can keep people on your site, the more they trust you and the more likely they are to buy and recommend your products or services.

So, make your site a wealth of information about your product and its related issues. Give your articles and information "printer friendly" links to make it simple to print a copy. As we mentioned above, make yourself (or your site) an authority on your subject so people will rate you higher on the old credibility scale.

NOTE: Make sure you have a well-written disclaimer for any advice or information you give out, particularly if it is health-related. Get an attorney to draft it for you and make recommendations about types of information you shouldn't post.

Now, how do you get your visitors to buy your products instead of just reading all of your information and leaving? Make it easy on them. Create sidebars within your informational sections that list products or product categories that fall within the subject of information that is being displayed. Create links that allow them to add the product to a shopping cart with one click. Create comparison charts that help them choose the product that would be best for them.

Use the technique of adding a "Customers who purchased this product also bought these items...." section to encourage customers to buy additional related products. You can also put customer ratings for products along with the item and even on the informational pages. Customer testimonials are always valuable, but make sure they look (and are) legitimate. Include as much information as possible about the customer who is providing the testimonial. The more information there is, the more credibility it will have.

Some tips for product promotion include:

  • Have regular special promotions prominently displayed on your home page in a special area devoted to that. It may keep people coming back just to see what your current specials are.
  • Create that customer newsletter we talked about earlier and put a link to your specials there. (However, make sure you're not spamming your customers with e-mail. Let them choose to subscribe to your newsletter, and always give them a way out.)
  • Create frequent-buyer programs that let people use points or credits to get products for free or at least at a healthy discount.
  • Put together product combos at special prices. This not only sells more products, but also may help create loyal customers by including a product they might not have thought they needed. Make sure your combos are a "value."
  • Have special Web-only deals. This works well if you also have a brick-and-mortar shop, but it really will work either way. As long as you have information available that allows customers to buy by phone or fax, you can have specials for those who use the Web.
  • Offer free shipping or handling within the country or a certain geographic area.
  • Price your products competitively. Remember, your visitors are only a couple of clicks away from your competitor's site, so comparison shopping is really taken to a new level. Something to think about with pricing is to make sure you don't price your product too low, or people might think it's of a lower quality; but price your products too high, and people won't buy at all. The moral here: Do your pricing research on your Web competitor's products before you price your own products, just like you would do in a brick-and-mortar situation.
  • Create a higher "perceived value" for your customers by adding free samples, introductory offers, coupons for future discounts, etc.